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The Incredible Tale of Two Marks Making Their 2018 Mark

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The Scottish Open was the final televised ranking event of 2018 which has seen a bumper year of snooker come to a close – but there’s plenty of drama and twists to come in 2019.

2018 has been a great year for two people. And their first names both begin with Mark!

Mark Allen began the year on the up with his tremendous win in London’s Alexandra Palace scooping his first triple crown major event – revealing then he was a real contender for major titles and competing with the big boys such as Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams.

But it was the resurgence of Mark Williams in the first half of the year that really shone through as the Welshman managed from nowhere to pick up the German Masters title at the start of the year, totally hammering Graeme Dott in the final and then, lifted his third World title in style in Sheffield in May after taking up coaching with Steve Feeney and SightRight. He also picked up the northern Irish Open in 2017 and the World Open much later into the new year of 2018.

The Pistol Fires in 2018…

Now, in the last three months of the year, Mark Allen, now with five ranking titles to his name, has picked up the cudgel from the two Marks and lifted some more silverware including the major Chinese event the International Championship and the Scottish Open. It was also his performance in reaching the final of the UK Championship losing out to Ronnie O’Sullivan, who made it his 19th major win to beat the record of Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis.

The 32-year-old’s exploits in the last week led him to pocket 145K  earning him this season so far total winnings of 393K.

Allen will defend his Master’s title in January 2019.

Mark No 1…

Mark Williams 2018: From Germany to Sheffield to Yushan, China. He made his mark 22 times…

For the other Mark, his 2017/18 season saw him become the oldest player at 43 since Ray Reardon to win a World title.

And, his last season’s wins rocketed him up to no 2 in the World and pocketing a hefty 870K. This season has been modest in comparison to just 237K! But plenty of holidays in the pipeline!

There is, of course, the third Mark, and he’s still World no 1 for Christmas – but only just! That mark for Selby may well be coming to an end soon though! What goes up, must come down!

Watch Dafasnooker with the new Scottish Open champ Allen!


 

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Your Cue Arm is Dead?

Hi there,

Beginner snooker player…

When SnookerZone first got coaching, one of the first things he was told was holding his game back was, your cue arm is dead…

What does this mean?

No, your cue arm isn’t dead, literally…

It means your cue arm isn’t extending enough either backwards or forwards!

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What that means is that SnookerZone wasn’t getting through the ball enough and this is done by the cue arm extending enough on the backswing, and then the cue arm going right through to the chest on the forward swing! On some shots, you don’t need too much backswing, but if you want power, then it’s important that you extend enough on the backswing to generate that power!

A coach will tell you that to get any spin on the ball (power) you need to follow through the white with your cue so you get the intended amount of spin you want on the ball.

Following through is also important for another two reasons!

  • It helps you pot the ball! (yes, the more you follow through properly, the more chance you’ll have of potting the ball! sounds weird, doesn’t it? But it’s true!)
  • It helps you to check you’ve completed the shot properly and if you have you will find your cue arm is forward of the vertical and not in the upright vertical position. Get someone to take a pic of your cue action and see if your cue arm is forward of the vertical when you have played the shot.
  • Remember to stay down on the shot after so you can see if your cue is not only pointing straight but, also, the cue has extended enough, a sign you have followed through on the shot!

Players who don’t follow through tend to…

  • Get a stabbing motion leading to no spin on the cue ball
  • Miss the pot (mostly) and…
  • Look unprofessional!

Tips: 

  • Watch the top players and they all do this one thing! They get through the white ball well and make sure their hand is touching the chest on the delivery of the cue.
  • Get chalk and a tape measure  – place the chalk to the side of the cue ball. Play a shot and then, after, measure with the tape how far your cue went through on playing the shot. You don’t even need a snooker table for this! You can then work on your follow through and continue to keep getting as much follow through as humanly possible!
  • Take a picture of your ideal position where the cue arm is forward of the vertical position and the grip hand is touching the chest after playing the shot! Imagine you’re in that position on every shot!

Do this one essential technical part of the technique, and you’ll find your game will improve much more quickly, and you’ll be able to play a much wider range of shots on the table!

Watch this video below on straight cueing from Barry Stark…


Also, read SnookerZone’s review on this useful little training aid that you can use in conjunction with Barry Starks tips on cueing! Read here…

 

 

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Watch John Higgins’s Incredible 147 at 2018 Scottish Open

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Four-times World Champion racked his sixth career 147 in Glasgow. 

The 43-year-old’s perfect 36 pots also came as he was nursing a broken rib this week in the event.

It’s also come on the back of a spell of low confidence for the 2018 World-finalist runner-up – who’s been trying to stop dwelling on missing out on scooping a fifth World title since he lost to Mark Selby and Mark Williams in the World Championship finals in the last two years.

Watch how Higgins said he got the broken rib, below…

This is the sixth 147 this season. Ronnie O’Sullivan also made his 15th 147 this season!

Higgin’s 147 in Scotland means he bags 22K for the break – assuming no-one else makes another by the end of the event. Watch it below…

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O’Sullivan Rockets to a Record Seventh UK Title

Ronnie O’Sullivan has claimed a seventh UK Championship crown – and now has bagged 19 major titles, bettering the records of Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry. 

The Rocket comfortably eased past Mark Allen in the final 10 – 6, after doing much of the damage in the first session by leading 6 – 2 at the afternoon’s session going into the evening.

The incredible feat puts him on…

  • 7 UK Championship titles
  • 5 World titles (still two away from equalling Hendry’s tally.)
  • 7 Masters titles

The Rocket, now 43, who won the UK title, his first ranking title at the tender age of 17, now has 34 ranking titles to his name – and, is two away from Stephen Hendry’s 36, making him second in the all-time list.

After the win he paraded around the Barbican in York like a jubilant teenager, a far cry from the humbled teenager overwhelmed by the win all those years ago in 1993.

Other soon to come feats from the rejuvenated snooker player, who has been having a spell of good form under coach Stephen Feeney and SightRight, which, he commented earlier on in the week as “an amazing piece of science” include…

  • Breaking the 1000 tons barrier, which could come in 2019, depending on how many events the Rocket plays.

The Rocket said after the UK win he was just enjoying his snooker again and that the coaching of SightRight had refocused him.

He’s already double qualified for the Champion of Champions 2019, after winning a third CofC title back in November at the Ricoh Arena. This is his first ranking title of the 2018/19 season.

Along with the title, he picked up 170K first prize. Mark Allen bagged a modest 70K for his efforts on getting to the final. Allen played some great snooker throughout the tournament even beating Neil Robertson on course from 5 – 4 behind.

Worryingly, O’Sullivan is cleaning up on the snooker circuit, and, unless someone steps up, SnookerZone can see this being the result for a few seasons to come.

His other records include:

  • fastest 147 break in 5 mins 20 seconds
  • 15 maximum breaks

So far, in this 2018/19 campaign, O’Sullivan has earnt just over half a million pounds in prize money! And the season has still plenty of snooker to come!

 

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How to Escape Snookers Easier : Here’s 5 Useful Tips

If you’ve ever played a frame of snooker, then you’ve probably been put at some point in a tricky snooker and then wondered how on earth you’re going to get out of it. I bet I’m right, right?

At first glance, it looks tricky and difficult to know what to do, but…

There are lots of ways you can make life easier when you are faced with a tricky snooker.

Here’s five tips to make your life much easier when escaping from snookers

  1. Look for the natural angle

On a snooker table, there is generally a rule of thumb in that when you hit the cue ball off a cushion it will bounce off on the same angle as it came on! So, when you’re faced with escaping from a snooker, always decide if there is a natural angle first you can escape from. That said, if there isn’t, we’ll go into that in more detail, later…

2) Use spots and lines on the table as guides when in a snooker

If you’re snookered on a ball, you should, as a rule, look for any spots on the table (not always the spots of the colours) but you should look for spots which can act as a guide for you to get close or hit the ball you’re escaping from. For example. if you were to put a red ball behind the blue spot, with the blue on its spot, and then, put the cue ball in baulk directly where you’re snookered, then you could look for a line or spot that will get close to hitting the red.

3) Don’t panic when you’re in a snooker

Although this may sound obvious, a lot of people first panic when they are encountered with a snooker. This means they’re not focused enough and are unlikely to make a logical decision if their mind is filled with panic! It’s a lot like when your mind is not on the pot. If you are distracted when potting a ball, then the chances are, you are not going to pot it!

4) Analyse pace when getting out of  snookers

It’s actually useful to know this. When you’re snookered and a ball is closer to the cushion that you need to hit, then you need to play with less pace. For example, if a red is near a cushion that you want to hit, then logic will tell you NOT to hit the cue ball too hard, as, if you did strike too hard, the red would come away and leave your opponent a potential pot! If a ball is in the middle of the table that you want to hit, and you’re snookered, then you need to consider striking with a bit more power to ensure the ball goes onto or near a cushion.

5) Make Sure you get the object ball safe!

If you’ve ever watched the game on TV, then you will always hear the commentator say this: “It’s not the hitting it that is the problem, it’s getting it safe!” There is no point in escaping from a snooker but then giving your opponent a chance to make a break and win the frame. When you escape from a snooker you need to think about where the object might be going and part of that is about what we mentioned in a previous post about learning angles and how the table works. Learning snooker trick shots is actually useful because you are learning angles, judgement of pace and how the table reacts. Plus, it’s fun: start now, here…

2 BONUS TIPS:

Here’s a useful and easy exercise to do:

Spend ten/15 minutes just with the cue ball knocking it onto the cushion from different angles and learn and memorise how the cue ball comes off the cushion. Then, see what happens when you play with side, and how the angle changes. 

This will help you understand what the white ball is doing and reacting to on and off the cushions.

Then, you can introduce another ball and practice trying to get the white to hit that ball without having any other balls in the way. Build up slowly for then placing a ball so you are snookered!

BONUS TIP 2:

Spend at least twenty minutes on your sessions doing this:

Place the black on its spot, and then the cue ball in the D area and then see if you can get the black ball safe on different areas of the table. See if you can hit the black indirectly by using cushions and see what happens when you use different variations of pace!

Here, WATCH coach Steve Barton explain the basics of getting out of snookers in the video below…

 

PS: Much of what has been discussed here regarding getting out of snookers, also applies to putting your opponent into a snooker. Just follow the guides and you’ll have much more success! Remember: you need to practice these things! So get on the table and start now!

Enjoy your snooker!